I have just received my first box of my very own Gotland wool yarn from the mill and have knit my first swatch. With each row I knit, I fell more in love with this yarn. Gotland sheep come in a range of true natural gray, from light silver to a deep charcoal. This yarn, from my two ewes named “Iris” and “Izzy”, displays a deep, dark gray-sometimes it looks almost black and other times, it looks velvety chocolate brown, with small flecks of light woven in the fibers. When you hold the knitted swatch in your hand, you almost can not feel it, as it is so light and delicate, you only feel its warmth as it lays across the back of your hand. How lovely this yarn will be knit and draped across your shoulders on a cool evening, or a knit into a light vest for cool New England days.
Pure Breed Yarn
The world of fiber has finally embraced true breed wool yarn. No one speaks more eloquently about pure breed yarn than Clara Parkes, knitter, teacher, and author of several well read books.
“Imagine if all the wine in the world—red and white alike—were mixed together and sold as generic “wine.” Think of how many centuries of craftsmanship and flavor would be lost, and how mediocre it would taste compared with how it would taste if the grapes had been kept separate or selectively blended. Such an act would be almost unthinkable in the food world. But in the knitting world, just as much nuance is lost every day when flat, bouncy, long, short, matte, and lustrous fibers from ancient and modern sheep breeds alike are bundled together and sold as generic “wool” yarn.” ~ Clara Parkes
Every breed of sheep has its own unique wool qualities, which bring life to the yarn. Some wool, like Gotland, has little or no crimp. The long lustrous curls lend themselves well to shawls, throws, and wraps. Other breeds, have springy, lofty wool, perfect for holding in warmth when knit into mittens, hats, and vests. Clara’s book, The Knitter’s Book of Wool, educates knitters about the different breeds and their wool, opening our eyes to the joy of knitting with pure breed wool yarn.
Nurtured with Love
When purchasing pure breed yarn, you directly support the very hands that nurture that sheep. Small family farms raise their flocks out of a love for the land and the animal. They pour their hearts and souls into what they do and share that with you- one skein of yarn at a time.
Supporting a Community
When a customer purchases yarn from the farm that raises the sheep, they do not only support the shepherd, but an entire community of workers that surround that farm and its flock. Many hands tend a flock and help produce the yarn that passes from their hands to yours. My own farm community includes the local feed and grain store owner, the country vet that dedicates his life to driving from farm to farm caring for the sick, the neighboring farmer who grows, cuts, and bales hay for our flock, the family mill that washes and spins my wool, the shearer who bends over each sheep to clip their wool, and the local graphic artist who designs and prints my business cards. As Clara Parkes states, “so many traditions and locales and livelihoods are impacted by the choice of a skein, and the vast majority of those skeins are wool.”
Join My Community
I hope you will join my community of supporters. Continue to read our farm journal and experience life on our farm. Share your comments, so that we can get to know you. Share your own knitting ventures on Ginny’s blog for the Wednesday Yarn Along.